Wednesday, April 23, 2014

McNuggetini sparks new career for former EDC resident

Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark

ALIE WARD, left, a former El Dorado County resident, and Georgia Hardstark, right, are co-hosts of the new cooking show "Tripping Out with Allie and Georgia." Photos courtesy of the Cooking Channel

From page A1 | July 29, 2013 | Leave Comment

Combine a travel and food show with a couple of zany dames and you have the making of a new cooking show featuring former resident of El Dorado County Alie Ward, 36.

The offspring of a parent in the news biz, Ward comes with journalistic chops including time spent at LA Weekly (while also moonlighting as a bartender) and a stint at the Los Angeles Times and TV station KTLA.

Her best friend and cooking show sidekick, Georgia Hardstark, 33, is a longtime Los Angeles resident who was a receptionist with a popular food blog before she found fame and fortune as the other half of the peripatetic duo.

Ward said she and Hardstark got their big break by making a video featuring a fictional martini called the McNuggetini and posting it on YouTube. An undrinkable concoction, it combined vanilla vodka shaken with a chocolate milkshake, poured into a martini glass rimmed in barbecue sauce and adorned with a Chicken McNugget.

The video went viral, attracting 10,000 hits a day, and as the saying goes, the rest is history. With so much buzz going for them, Ward and Hardstark were contacted shortly thereafter by the Cooking Channel to do a program where they would create cocktails that were fun but palatable.

The dynamic duo then went on to host two seasons of “Drinks with Alie & Georgia,” which included cocktails with names like Grape Expectations, Peanut Butter & Jealous, Zombie Gut Punch, Apple of My Pie, Hari Kari Me Home and Cereal Killer.

Lucy and Ethel do Vegas

Making cocktails led to other gigs for the Cooking Channel, including being on-camera contributors to the “Unique Sweets” show.

Their newest venture is the travel/cooking/drinking show called “Tripping Out with Alie and Georgia” which features the gals, who love dressing in vintage clothing, having goofy adventures, exploring offbeat restaurants and bars, and finally returning home for a party.

Like Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz, Ward said they often find themselves in funny situations that are part of their road trips.

“We never know what’s going to happen when we get there. It’s very off the cuff. We’re like 16-year-old boys getting into trouble,” she said.

In their first episode that aired June 21, the gals visited Las Vegas, where they dined on bacon martinis and super-sized pancakes, walked a tight rope suspended 20 feet in the air without the benefit of a net or harness, played poker with the big boys and generally whooped it up before returning to home for a party that featured bite-sized pancakes and a cocktail with a Vegas twist.

Other episodes will feature them taking a mud bath and receiving spiritual advice in the California desert from the “laughing yogi;” checking out San Francisco in vintage dresses and high heels while on scooters; dog sledding, fishing for halibut and serving drinks at a local saloon in Alaska; learning how to elbow out roller derby competitors and make a classic cowboy breakfast in Texas; and taking lessons in synchronized swimming and making key lime pie in Miami.

Between shoots, the duo is also writing for the Cooking Channel and doing personal appearances. With such a busy schedule, the two of them have since quit their day jobs.

“We travel so much we can’t hold regular jobs,” laughed Ward.

A book also seems to be in their future. “We have a literary agent and definitely want a book to include recipes for innovative drinks, how to entertain, and how to find inspiration,” Ward said.

Asked where they get their ideas for the show, Ward said they are hashed out during meetings with executive producer and chef Giada De Laurentiis with the goal being to visit restaurants and bars that are not as well-known. She said it then takes them about two days to shoot an episode with the formula being to hit two or three restaurants plus a bar in between having an adventure and exploring whatever city they are in. Then they return to Los Angeles and celebrate, inspired by where they’ve been and what they’ve done, and create foods and cocktails that are tweaked to remind them of the experience.

Ward said so far the feedback from social media outlets has been good and they are hoping the show gets picked up for another season. If so, she’d definitely like to do an episode in Placerville/Apple Hill, saying it would be fun to pan for gold, explore the lore associated with the area and sample all the great food from local orchards.

“I’ve always wanted my own show,” said Ward. “This is really a dream come true.”

For those who want to check out the latest episode of “Tripping Out with Alie and Georgia,” the show airs at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 2 on the Cooking Channel.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.


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